Normally, when a Vegas casino goes dark, an important Vegas person has just passed away. But now, Encore Las Vegas is going dark on Tuesdays and Thursdays due to low demand.
A representative of Encore casino owner Wynn Resorts said in a press release that the shortened hours are being implemented “to match the consistent, lower consumer demand we are experiencing.”
The demand has been attributed to the pandemic lockdowns and the strict safety rules in place after casinos reopened. In addition to the coronavirus concerns, a recent spike in Vegas violence has put a major dent in demand.
As a result of a sudden increase in aggravated assaults and gun violence on the Las Vegas Strip, police have increased officer presence and casinos have beefed up their security. Encore had a violent incident resulting in $15,000 in damages, and now they have metal detectors at the entrances and a restricted casino entry policy.
Another factor weighing heavily in the Encore midweek closure is the lack of conventions in Las Vegas. Business conventions and events make up almost half the revenue in Las Vegas, as part of a targeted marketing plan to bring more business to Vegas. The Las Vegas Convention Center is one of the largest in the world.
The lack of conventions has left a weak spot midweek, where most Vegas event planners find the lowest group discounts. With all large public meetings banned due to the pandemic, the convention scene has withered on the vine, and with it, midweek casino hotel attendance.
After Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered Vegas casinos to close during the pandemic, he allowed them to reopen June 4. Not all of them began reopening right away, and many had to lay off half of their staff during the lockdown.
The strict conditions post-lockdown have already cut into casino profits by reducing the number of patrons allowed. By being forced to shut down half of the slot machines and card tables for social distancing purposes, this literally cut casino profits in half.
Air travel to Vegas has been decimated as well. Add to that the restrictive security measures in place after several violent outbreaks, and casinos are seriously struggling now.
Wynn casino will not alter their hours, but their adjacent property, the Encore, will only be open from Thursday at 2 p.m. until Monday at noon. The new schedule will be enacted October 19.
The Wynn Resorts statement said that the Encore will return to normal operating hours when consumer demand increases but did not offer a specific timetable.
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